Wichita Reservoir - 2012 Survey Report
Prepared by Tom Lang and Robert Mauk
Inland Fisheries Division
District 2-E, Wichita Falls, Texas
This is the authors' summary from a 17-page report. For a copy of the complete report, use the download link in the sidebar.
Fish populations in Wichita Reservoir were not surveyed in 2012-13 report year because of extremely low water elevations caused by prolonged drought. This resulted in the lone boat ramp being well above the waterline and unusable. Fish populations were surveyed using dual-cod trap nets in 2010 and in 2011 using gill nets. Historical data are presented with the data for comparison. This report summarizes the results of the surveys and contains a reservoir management plan based on those findings.
Wichita Reservoir is a 1,224-acre municipal reservoir owned and operated by the City of Wichita Falls for flood control and recreation. The dam and most of the reservoir is in Wichita County and the southern portion is in Archer County. The reservoir was built in 1901, impounding Holliday Creek, a tributary to the Wichita River. Mean depth is 4.5 feet and maximum depth is 9.5 feet. Angler and boat access is adequate when reservoir elevation is within 1 foot of conservation pool. Habitat includes large stands of native emergent vegetation when full.
In March of 2004 a toxic golden alga event killed approximately 7,700 fish of which 93% were non-game fish. In March of 2007 another event occurred with an estimated 15,000 fish dying, almost all were non-game species. In February of 2009 a golden alga event killed an estimated more than 200,000 fish including many game fish. In early 2012, golden alga again impacted the reservoir along with two major kills later in the year caused by extremely low water conditions.
Historically important sport fish include Channel Catfish, White Bass, Palmetto Bass, and White Crappie. The 2009 management plan recommended rebuilding prey species, Palmetto Bass, White Crappie, and Largemouth Bass populations through stocking. Threadfin Shad were stocked in 2009, Bluegill in 2009 and 2010, Channel Catfish in 2009, Florida Largemouth Bass in 2009 and northern Largemouth Bass in 2010, Palmetto Bass in 2010, and White Crappie in 2010.
The 2012 electrofishing and trap net survey, and the 2013 gill net survey could not be conducted because extreme low reservoir elevation made launching a boat impossible. As a result, the current status of the fish population is unknown.
- Catfishes: In 2011, catfish abundance was over three times the historical average.
- White bass: White bass have not been documented in the reservoir since 2005.
- Palmetto bass: The 2011 survey had the second highest catch rate observed at this reservoir.
- Largemouth bass: Largemouth bass had the highest electrofishing catch rate recorded since the reservoir’s elevation was lowered in 1995 but was still far below district averages. Only three bass were sampled compared to one bass sampled in the last three surveys combined.
- White crappie: The 2010 dual-cod trap net survey had the highest catch rate observed at this reservoir.
Continue monitoring the reservoir for golden alga. Survey the reservoir every four years. Work closely with the City of Wichita Falls’ Lake Wichita Study Committee.
Performance Report as required by Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act Texas Federal Aid Project F-221-M-3 Inland Fisheries Division Monitoring and Management Program